Lake Norman is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but a question has forever lingered: What is the actual date of the lake’s founding?
After much internal discussion, Duke Energy has settled officially on Sept. 30, 1963, the day its Cowans Ford Hydro Station off N.C. 73 in Huntersville began commercial operation, said Tim Gause, Duke Energy’s district manager for the Charlotte region.
“We’ve had this conversation ourselves, all the different dates that are out there,” Gause said. “Is it the day of the groundbreaking for the lake? Is it when the lake started to fill? Is it when commercial operation of the hydro station began?”
Duke declared the lake full in March 1963, according to Observer archives, and Gause said he’s researching an event the company held at the lake in summer 1963. But an internal 50th-anniversary committee decided that Sept. 30, 1963, marks the lake’s official creation, Gause said.
Duke Energy manages the lake under federal license.
Gause said the company knows that various communities and organizations on the lake will hold events to celebrate the anniversary throughout the rest of the year.
On June 22, for instance, SOLO (Save Our Lake Organization) will hold a free Lake Norman “50 Years” Festival at Queen’s Landing in Mooresville. The date has no known lake-related historical significance, said Jim Feldmeyer, who leads the Terrell-based organization with his wife, Jill.
Duke Energy’s internal committee is still determining how the company will mark Sept. 30. Whatever the committee decides, Gause said, Duke Energy intends to emphasize what the lake has meant to the region over the past half-century and what it will mean over the next 50 years.
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